High Thoracic Kyphosis and Backward Trunk Inclination Angles in the Single-Leg Standing Position Associate With Medial Elbow Injuries in Youth Baseball Players: A Cross-Sectional Study

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context: Baseball pitching is a coordinated movement involving the spine. A previous study indicated that increased thoracic kyphosis angle in a standing position was a risk factor for medial elbow injuries in youth baseball players. However, spinal alignments in single-leg standing and their relationships with medial elbow injuries, scapular alignment, or hip joint range of motion are unclear. Objective: To examine the difference in spinal alignment between standing and single-leg standing positions in youth baseball players and analyze their relationship with elbow injuries, scapular alignment, or hip joint range of motion. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: University laboratory. Participants: There were 51 youth baseball players with medial epicondylar fragmentation (medial elbow injury group) and 102 healthy youth baseball players (control group). Main Outcome Measures: Thoracic kyphosis, lumbar lordosis, and trunk inclination angles during standing and single-leg standing, forward scapular posture, and hip joint range of motion. Results: In the single-leg standing position, the thoracic kyphosis and backward trunk inclination angles were significantly higher in the medial elbow injury group than in the control group (P = .016 and P = .046, respectively). In the standing position, no significant difference was observed between both groups. The thoracic kyphosis angle in single-leg standing was positively correlated with the bilateral forward scapular posture in the medial elbow injury (P = .008 and P < .001 on the throwing and nonthrowing sides, respectively) and control (P = .010 and P = .032 on the throwing and nonthrowing sides, respectively) groups. Conclusions: High thoracic kyphosis and backward trunk inclination angles are characteristics during single-leg standing in youth baseball players with medial elbow injuries. Spinal alignment measurement in single-leg standing may be useful for identifying youth baseball players who are at risk for sustaining medial elbow injury.

Saito and Okada are with the Department of Physical Therapy, Akita University Graduate School of Health Sciences, Akita, Japan. Sato and Kamata are with the Department of Rehabilitation, Akita Kousei Medical Center, Akita, Japan. Shibata is with the Department of Rehabilitation, Akita City Hospital, Akita, Japan.

Saito (ptsaito@hs.akita-u.ac.jp) is corresponding author.
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